Baker giving rise to bread renaissance


Baker giving rise to bread renaissance

‘Da Vinci Diet’ offered as alternative to Atkins

By RYAN LENZ Associated Press

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Portland, Maine — A baker who lost nearly half his customers to the low-carb craze has tapped Dan Brown’s bestselling novel for an Atkins alternative called the “Da Vinci Diet” that he hopes will bring people back to bread.

A little math theory kneaded with biblical lore from “The Da Vinci Code” has transformed Stephen Lanzalotta into a dietary sage, answering the “carbohydrate question” with a series of lectures promoting a diet he has followed for decades to maintain a muscular 160 pounds into middle age.

Admittedly, he is neither a nutritionist nor a scholar — his background is in biology and biochemistry. But Lanzalotta argues that people have been eating bread for too long for it suddenly to be the reason everyone is fat.

“Human civilization and grain have ties that go way back. No municipal society evolved without grain, no matter what it was,” said Lanzalotta, who kneads his dough by hand like bread makers of old. “Not that I believe bread is one of the most sacred foods, but it is one of the most important things we can eat.”

Lanzalotta argues that bread forms the building blocks of the body and, in moderation, can lead to more stable moods, clearer thought and a rock-hard body, right down to the washboard stomach of a Renaissance statue.

The Da Vinci Diet is not published and is revealed primarily through the baker’s lectures.

It consists mostly of Mediterranean foods: fish, cheese, vegetables, meat, nuts and wine, in addition to bread — none are taboo at Da Vinci’s table.

In his diet, Lanzalotta uses a complicated formula he created that relies on the value of phi, a number discovered by ancient mathematics, used to build the pyramids, and featured prominently in Brown’s book.

The value, 1.618, is known as the “golden ratio.” It has long fascinated artists, philosophers and mathematicians.

Taking into account factors including body type, the diet typically breaks down to 52% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 28% fat. That’s fewer carbohydrates and more protein than current federal guidelines.

A little suspect? Maybe.

In his book “The Golden Ratio,” Mario Livio, an astrophysicist and senior scientist on the Hubble Telescope, discusses the history of the number. But Livio questions whether a diet based on it is better for the body.

“I’m not surprised in the sense that the golden ratio has been incorporated into many things,” Livio said. “But to claim that we are tuned precisely to the number, I don’t think there is particularly strong evidence.”

Lanzalotta is not alone in looking for a carbohydrate-considerate way to eat, said Dave Grotto, a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association.

Grotto agrees with Lanzalotta’s claim that most new “Atkins friendly” processed snacks on grocery shelves are mostly non- nutritive filler — low-carbohydrate cookies and treats that critics describe as tasting like cardboard.

When low-carbohydrate diets took off amid an ever-fatter population, Lanzalotta was spending hours researching food, exploring radical dietary regimens, and finding ways to incorporate bread to make it healthy.

He actually understands why low-carb diets work and appreciates the discipline involved. The diet has its strong points, he said.

“I’m not suggesting that we eat more bread,” Lanzalotta said. “I’m just trying to look at the problems with eating only meat.”

Copyright 2004 Journal Sentinel Inc. Note: This notice does not

apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through

wire services or other media

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

You May Also Like

A faith in pain

A faith in pain JOAN VENNOCHI A faith in pain Some cardinals shifting the blame By JOAN VENNOCHI Wednesday, Ap…

Tampa Bay cuts Wunsch

Tampa Bay cuts Wunsch NFL Notes Tampa Bay cuts Wunsch Former UW lineman started since 1999 Associated Press M…

Palestinian young found hungry

Palestinian young found hungry JASON KEYSER Palestinian young found hungry Children suffer malnutrition because of fighting,…

Sheriff won’t budge on church program

Sheriff won’t budge on church program JACQUELINE SEIBEL Sheriff won’t budge on church program Clergy, Trawicki to meet on re…